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Getting My Business In Order?

Advice on everything from getting your music heard to setting up a label and royalties.

Getting My Business In Order?

Postby Oneal » Fri Aug 23, 2019 9:04 pm

Hello guys!

It's been 10 years away from creating music and I regret every minute of it. I thought graduating from college and getting a corporate job behind a desk all day was a safer lifestyle, but I was wrong!

That said...I'm moving to LA next year to live the dream, but I want to make sure all my business is in order because I am still somewhat ignorant to music business. I am going to be pretty comfortable financially when I move there so I really want to invest in myself.

So I plan to make beats and write songs and then hire singers to perform them to eventually form compilation albums showcasing my production. (Like Calvin Harris, Zedd, DJ Khaled, Marshmello etc.)

I do plan to collaborate with artists/producers that may not already be registered with BMI/ASCAP etc so what will I need to do in those cases?

Any business advice/preparation for this model is appreciated. Also, please leave any ideas to promote this model as well.
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby CS70 » Sat Aug 24, 2019 2:42 pm

My $.10: LA is LA, it's the right place to be. And that's because the key is connections. It follows that, while it's become way easier to do quality stuff in your bedroom with respect to 10 years ago, you shouldn't. Your objective is to get to know and be known by people, so you should use studios, local musicians, producers, music suppliers, anything that's connected to your business idea (whatever it is), as much as you can. If you're staying home making beats you can just as well make them in Ohio. Go to parties. Make parties happen. Have something to show, make sure the something is good, and show it. Remember there's lots of wannabes and posers and free riders so use your head, but let the door open. LA isn't for the faint of heart or the introverts, but it's as good as a place to try seriously if you want to.

Best of luck!
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby blinddrew » Sat Aug 24, 2019 8:23 pm

Over on a different thread The Red Bladder posted this bit of advice: https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 20#p616320
(I hope that link works)
It's well worth reading.
But as with all advice, it's entirely up to you whether you follow it or not!
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby Phil O » Sun Aug 25, 2019 10:46 am

Oneal wrote:
I do plan to collaborate with artists/producers that may not already be registered with BMI/ASCAP etc so what will I need to do in those cases?

You don't need to do anything as far as they are concerned. It is they who would miss out on any royalties. Just ensure that both you and your works are registered with an appropriate PRO.

Note, in the US, you'll need to make some arrangement as regards your publishing share. Either set-up your own publishing entity (and register that with a PRO) or enter into a deal with a US publisher to adminster your catalogue. Failure to do so may mean you miss out on the publisher share of US royalties.
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby Oneal » Sun Aug 25, 2019 6:20 pm

Thanks guys!
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby mrpiano83 » Thu Nov 14, 2019 7:09 am

Best piece of advice I can give you is find a good accountant who knows the music business. The world of royalties and other income streams can be foreign to many accountants. The last think you need is to get behind on taxes when you are just starting out. Also, it's one more person who might have professional connections that you may find useful down the road.
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby shufflebeat » Thu Nov 14, 2019 11:53 am

mrpiano83 wrote:Best piece of advice I can give you is find a good accountant who knows the music business.

If memory serves this is also the #1 advice given my Don Passman (Everything You Need to Know About The Music Business) a hundred years ago.
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:09 pm

blinddrew wrote:Over on a different thread The Red Bladder posted this bit of advice: https://www.soundonsound.com/forum/view ... 20#p616320
(I hope that link works)
It's well worth reading.

Well thank you for that very honourable mention!

So let's go through this 'Living the Dream' malarkey, step by step -

Oneal wrote:I'm moving to LA next year to live the dream, but I want to make sure all my business is in order because I am still somewhat ignorant to music business. I am going to be pretty comfortable financially when I move there so I really want to invest in myself.
A couple of alarm signals there to watch out for -

1. Moving to LA? That's you and a million others! The crazy niche that gives you the 'easy-in' may not be in LA. The world is changing faster than ever right now - we moving at a break-neck speed in just about everything. Hollywood ain't in Hollywood no more! Rumania, Hungary, Czechia, Canada, even Siberia is beginning to make a name for itself in movies. Music? It's everywhere! Don't fixate on the old places like LA, NY and London. They may all may just be yesterday's news!

2. Pretty comfortable financially? That sounds like someone who is about to be parted from a shed-load of money! Well, at least you'll have loads of new friends - until the money runs out! LA is like that! After the money runs out, all those new friends with fantastic contacts within the industry will take one more call from you - just in case they missed some!

Oneal wrote:So I plan to make beats and write songs and then hire singers to perform them to eventually form compilation albums showcasing my production. (Like Calvin Harris, Zedd, DJ Khaled, Marshmello etc.)

No, that's NOT what they did! NOBODY conquered the world from their bedroom studios! They performed - and then they performed some more. I was in the hip-hop biz from the 80s to the 90s and you need to be out there gigging four or five nights a week.

And you don't get no gigs without an agent. Your number ONE priority has to be to get an agent. And no matter how great that agent is for you at first, be ready to change agent for the next step up. And then change again. These people are not your friends!

That means that you have to start with some deadbeat ripoff agent and be playing public toilets. But here's the thing - some of the best gigs you will ever do in your whole life, gigs where you connect with the audience and two or three hundred souls are really getting down and joining in the groove will be at that time and in those toilet venues!

That means that you are going to have to start spending money on a huge lighting rig and decent sound, plus a truck.

It also means that you are going to have to learn how to connect to an audience! "All the ladies in the house say 'OOP! OOP!" You get the idea!

Good luck (you're gonna need it!!!)

ONE FINAL TIP - NEVER sign ANYTHING without reading it and understanding it ALL to the letter. If in doubt, talk to a lawyer - but YOU still have to understand EVERY part of every contract!

If you don't or can't read and fully understand contracts, run for the hills and go back to that corporate job behind the big desk with all the pencils!
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Nov 14, 2019 3:28 pm

Lots of sensible advice there and I'd agree with pretty much all of it except for
The Red Bladder wrote:That means that you are going to have to start spending money on a huge lighting rig and decent sound, plus a truck.

Most venues on the way up will have their own lights and PA. Yes, sometimes the quality is variable but mostly at least usable in my experience. Once you become more successful you'll be playing bigger venues which are less likely to have a PA installed but most people would hire PA and lights for a tour in those venues rather than buy something.
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby The Red Bladder » Thu Nov 14, 2019 5:04 pm

James Perrett wrote:Most venues on the way up will have their own lights and PA. Yes, sometimes the quality is variable but mostly at least usable in my experience.
Three things here -

1. The US toilet circuit has little or no house lighting. We are talking about military bases, weddings, open-air gigs, university and community college halls and similar crapholes. He has to start somewhere and that is where he is going to start. He ain't gonna be playing Das Bunker or Sounds!

2. To get traction, his show MUST be DIFFERENT! That means NOT using the house show settings, but having something people really react to.

3. He wants to enter SHOW business. That means putting on a SHOW. EDM, hip-hop, D&B, house, metal, new industrial, whatever is all about the SHOW. If I fork out the money for a SHOW I want to see a SHOW. If all he does is stand on stage and use the house lights - well, then I didn't get a SHOW and I will want my money back!
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Nov 15, 2019 12:59 am

Follow this as it comes online 2021 in the US.

https://www.copyright.gov/music-modernization/faq.html
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby mrpiano83 » Fri Nov 15, 2019 5:26 am

shufflebeat wrote:
mrpiano83 wrote:Best piece of advice I can give you is find a good accountant who knows the music business.

If memory serves this is also the #1 advice given my Don Passman (Everything You Need to Know About The Music Business) a hundred years ago.

That's funny. I didn't know that. I just ordered this book on your recommendation. It's looks interesting. :)
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Re: Getting My Business In Order?

Postby Watchmaker » Fri Nov 15, 2019 9:11 pm

Having just left CA because of the crumbling infrastructure, I would caution against that move. NYC, London, hell even Toronto, but LA? It's dead but hasn't realized it yet.

Also, as a guy with an accounting degree - do find a competent accountant and don't wince at the cost. It'll save you money and may even find you revenue streams you haven't considered.

and, if you wanna make it in the music biz, people have to know and like you and you have to bring something to the table. socialize, show up and play your ass off and if luck favors you, then it'll happen!

Here's wishing you an amazing experience and great success!
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